.ISSN (e) 1759-7331
(print) 1759-7323
Quantitative Economics
An open-access journal in quantitative economics
Journal of the
Econometric Society
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Quantitative Economics, Volume 13, Issue 3 (July 2022)

Minimizing sensitivity to model misspecification

Stéphane Bonhomme, Martin Weidner


We propose a framework for estimation and inference when the model may be misspecified. We rely on a local asymptotic approach where the degree of misspecification is indexed by the sample size. We construct estimators whose mean squared error is minimax in a neighborhood of the reference model, based on one‐step adjustments. In addition, we provide confidence intervals that contain the true parameter under local misspecification. As a tool to interpret the degree of misspecification, we map it to the local power of a specification test of the reference model. Our approach allows for systematic sensitivity analysis when the parameter of interest may be partially or irregularly identified. As illustrations, we study three applications: an empirical analysis of the impact of conditional cash transfers in Mexico where misspecification stems from the presence of stigma effects of the program, a cross‐sectional binary choice model where the error distribution is misspecified, and a dynamic panel data binary choice model where the number of time periods is small and the distribution of individual effects is misspecified.

Model misspecification robustness sensitivity analysis C13 C23

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